DENVER – Seattle Mariners manager Eric Wedge had a clear, simple answer when asked Sunday what he’d seen at the plate from shortstop Brendan Ryan, who had four hits in his last three games.
“He had good balance and seemed to see the ball better,” Wedge said.
And then, there was Ryan’s explanation – which involved toe-tapping and the analogy of good hitters having cinder blocks for feet.
“If you understand what Brendan says, I’ll get you a job with the government,” Wedge said, and laughed.
Yes, Brendan Ryan is a piece of work.
At shortstop, he’s been magnificent for Seattle, but after raising his average 40 points in a week, he began Sunday’s game hitting .165.
“Brendan works hard, but sometimes he works against himself,” Wedge said.
Recently, Ryan has tried something of a toe-tap at the plate, a mini-leg lift that requires his front foot to be down before he swings. Then he tried a double-toe-tap. And finally, no tapping at all.
“Until the front foot is down, your hands can’t lock and fire,” Ryan said Sunday. “If your foot is down, you’re not moving and you see the ball better. That’s where I’ve been trying to get.”
So which approach did he use Saturday, when he tripled and singled?
“I don’t know. I wasn’t thinking about it, which was probably good. The best hitters, their feet are like cinder blocks up there. No movement,” Ryan said. “That means they see the ball longer, better and are ready to swing no matter what the pitch is.
“All I’m trying to do is be in hitting position and see the ball better. I know they don’t want me thinking up there, and (Saturday) I just trusted my swing and looked for the pitch.”
When asked about tonight’s Yu Darvish-Felix Hernandez pitching matchup, Wedge responded as if waiting for the opportunity.
“We’ve got to focus on our own strengths, what our guys are good at, and have the other team worrying about that,” Wedge said.
Catcher Miguel Olivo, on the disabled list since May 1 with a groin strain, will join the Tacoma Rainiers in Iowa today and start at catcher for them tonight. Olivo will likely catch and be used as the designated hitter over the next few games, and could be recalled to Seattle this week. … Among his many accomplishments, Ichiro Suzuki continues to build this one: Since 2001, he has the most interleague hits (281) of anyone. Texas’ Michael Young is second at (260). … It’s always dangerous to predict season stats, but Kyle Seager is on pace to bat .292 with 42 doubles, 19 home runs and 100 RBI in 2012. … In the first nine games of this trip, the Mariners were 10-for-25 with runners in scoring position in three wins – and 2-for-43 with RISP in six losses.
Seattle hosts Texas in a 7:10 p.m. game today that will be televised on Root Sports. Probable starters: Texas’ Darvish (6-1, 2.60 ERA) vs. Hernandez (3-3, 3.02).email@example.com